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Corporate Identity Management:

Applying the ACID Test


A White Paper by CRM (UK Ltd & SECOR Consulting Tricia Fox John Balmer Alan Wilson

Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

Customer Identity Management:


Applying the ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management

A White Paper by CRM (UK) Ltd and SECOR Consulting Ltd Tricia Fox John Balmer Alan Wilson

Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd and SECOR Consulting 2001 Published by: Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd, Ross House, 20 Melville Terrace, Stirling, FK8 2NE, Tel: 01786 448804, Fax: 01786 445518 www.crmuk.co.uk SECOR Consulting Ltd, 86-88 Coombe Road, New Malden, Surrey KT3 4QS, Tel: 0208 942 0252, Fax: 0208 942 0251 www.secorconsulting.com

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Table of Contents
ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................................................4 THE ACID TEST OF CORPORATE IDENTITY MANAGEMENT.........................................6 Figure 1: The Acid Test of Corporate Identity Management (Balmer and Soenen, 1999)...7 THE RESEARCH APPROACH: REVEALING THE FOUR IDENTITIES ................................9 Table 1. Research Methods................................................................................................................. 11 THE VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS A UDIT ..................................................................................................11 COMPANY AND INDUSTRY ANALYSES .....................................................................................................12 SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS..............................................................................................................12 STRUCTURED QUESTIONNAIRES ...............................................................................................................13 EXAMINING THE INTERFACES....................................................................................................................13 Figure 2: The RED ACID Test Process Examining the 6 Interfaces (Balmer and Soenen, 1999) ....................................................................................................................................................... 14 Figure 3: Gap Analysis of Division A ............................................................................................... 15 CORPORATE CULTURE ...............................................................................................................................16 M ANAGEMENT PROCESSES ........................................................................................................................17 COMMUNICATION .......................................................................................................................................17 EVALUATION OF THE ACID TEST.................................................................................................. 19 IT SHOULD BE CAPABLE OF BEING OPERATIONALISED BY CONSULTANTS ......................................20 IT SHOULD BRING OBJECTIVITY TO CORPORATE IDENTITY CONSULTANCY AND MANAGEMENT .21 IT SHOULD BE SIMPLE.............................................................................................................................22 RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................................... 23 THE AC2 ID TEST ........................................................................................................................................24 THE REDS AC2 ID TEST PROCESS .......................................................................................................24 CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................................. 25 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................................. 26

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Abstract
There is a strong desire by both practitioners and academics of corporate identity management to secure a method that reveals a companys identity and diagnoses an appropriate programme of improvement thereafter. Recent research in the area has
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culminated in the development of the ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management

(Balmer & Soenen, 1999) which aims to reveal and examine the corporate identity and furthermore to diagnose an appropriate programme of change. This paper reports on the first known application of the ACID Test in a research situation. It is case specific and centres upon a company that is predominantly knowledge driven. The paper details the research methodology and pays particular attention to instances where problems with using the ACIDTest format were experienced. Following this, it builds upon existing theory by offering guidance on the application of the ACID Test and suggestions on areas where improvements can be made.

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The ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management Dr Balmer (1998)

The authors wish to acknowledge that The ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management was developed by Dr. John Balmer as part of the Transatlantic Identity Study funded by Enterprise Group PLC. They also wish to acknowledge Mr Guillaume Soenen who acted as research assistant to the project and Professor Greyser of Harvard Business School who acted as special adviser to the study. 4 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

There is a strong desire by both practitioners and academics of corporate identity management to secure a method that reveals a companys identity and diagnoses an appropriate programme of improvement thereafter. Methods of revelation and measurement have been conceived and explored by several authors (Balmer and Gray, 1999; Markwick and Fill, 1997; Van Rekom, 1997; Van Riel, 1995 and Van Riel and Balmer, 1997). Many of these models and techniques are conceptual or based on research undertaken within identity consultancies whose approach is often biased towards visual identity and communication management. Consequently, existing techniques often take a functional, piecemeal approach to corporate identity management, and give inadequate attention to the other, equally salient, perspectives that the area embodies. However recent research has attempted to bridge this divide and culminated in the development of Balmer and Soenens ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management (1999). This model adopts a simultaneously strategic and functional approach and is designed to initially identify weaknesses in an organisations identity strategy and subsequently direct the organisation towards the appropriate corrective action.

This paper reports on primary research, the objective of which was to identify gaps in the corporate identity as it was communicated at a divisional level of a major UK plc and to align the corporate communications with those of the parent company. The research design drew upon the ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management (Balmer & Soenen, 1999), pivoting around the initial revelation of the four identities : Actual, Communicated, Ideal and Desired. The research may be seen to contribute to corporate identity management practice and scholarship in three ways:

The research appears to be the first known application of the ACID Test, and the strengths of application and possible implications of operationalisation will be outlined in the course of the paper. It is case specific and concentrates upon a company that is predominantly knowledge driven, consisting of a large number of professionals many of whom operate as individual subcontractors and whose initial commitment is to the profession that they serve and not the company. According to Gray and Balmer (1999), one of the benefits of corporate identity management is the retention of skilled employees. Knowledge driven companies are rapidly becoming the norm, particularly in growth industries such as information technology. Consequently, knowledge workers are a strategic resource and crucial to the 5 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

future success of the company but the retention of these skilled and experienced workers is a critical issue for companies in heavily knowledge and skill-intensive industries (DTI, 1998). The research findings from this case study are therefore of interest to academics currently involved in researching similar companies and to practitioners who encounter such problems in their everyday work. It offers guidance on the application of the ACIDTest and suggestions on improvement.

The ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management


The ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management (Figure 1) was developed by Balmer and Soenen (1999) following qualitative research within a major corporate identity consultancy, assessment of documentary material describing current practices of the UKs top 20 corporate identity consultancies and a review of the academic literature. The literature indicated that the existing corporate identity audit techniques were often uneven approaches largely due to a lack of consensus as to the elements constituting a corporate identity (p.74). This finding was complemented by the revelation that practitioners focus was primarily on tangible elements of the corporate identity mix, ignoring aspects such as the corporate culture. Despite this, there were a number of shared objectives identified by the researchers that culminated in the development of a method which could help to a) identify weaknesses with an organisations strategy and management and b) prioritise the type of identity change required (p.69). The researchers advocate that the existence of such a method would be of use to both practitioners and academics alike.

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Figure 1: The Acid Test of Corporate Identity Management (Balmer and Soenen, 1999)

In designing the model (shown in Figure 1, above), which seeks to reveal and examine the corporate identity and diagnose the required change programme, Balmer and Soenen worked from seven key principles:

i.

It should be innovative and reflect cutting edge developments with regard to corporate identity research and scholarship;

ii. iii.

It should be capable of being operationalised by consultants It should be capable of improving current best practices in relation to corporate identity consultancy and management 7 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

iv. v.

It should bring objectivity to corporate identity consultancy and management It should assist in the evaluation of corporate identity programmes and management

vi. vii.

It should be memorable It should be simple (p.81)

The approach to the method was strategic and multidisciplinary, moving away from the traditional view of corporate identity as essentially a communication-led discipline grounded in graphic design. The ACID Test approach differentiated between four types of identity: Actual, Communicated, Ideal and Desired. These distinctions were made in order to allow for the multiplicity of interfaces that corporate identity managers must accommodate in their planning and analysis. They were defined as follows:

The Actual Identity: What the organisation is, The Communicated Identity: How the organisation is perceived by its publics and how the organisation communicates,

The Ideal Identity: the optimum positioning of the organisation in its market or markets taking cognisance of its strengths and abilities in addition to environmental considerations,

The Desired Identity: The identity which the chief executive and management board wishes to acquire. (p.82)

Using the ACID Test entails a three-stage process. These Stages are 1) revelation of the four separate identities, 2) examination of the interfaces between these identities and, finally, 3) diagnosis of the action that needs to be taken to minimise inconsistencies. It is presumed that these stages should allow managers and consultants to prioritise the

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required changes and distinguish between what is urgent, important or simply desirable (p.89).

In order to determine the effectiveness of the model and its ease of application, a study, using the test, was undertaken within a division of a major UK plc. This research will now be presented and the effectiveness of the ACID Test discussed using the seven key principles as criteria for judgement.

The Research Approach: Revealing the Four Identities


The research was initiated by Division A, a secondary tier contracting firm that provides international construction and engineering services to the oil and gas industry. Division A describes itself as a services company that delivers and receives reward based on the application of our intellectual property that is our management, people and systems (Anonymous, 1999). Knowledge driven companies are rapidly becoming the norm in the UK and managerial issues such as knowledge management and internal communication are of strategic importance for these organisations. Division A had highlighted that they were experiencing difficulties in internal cross communication and that, due to the interfacing nature of their business, this was impacting upon their customers perceptions of the company.

Drawing from the ACID Test, the research design pivoted around the initial revelation of the four identities. The data collection methods were chosen to elicit qualitative responses 9 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

from the research participants. A summary of the methods chosen and their position within the ACID Test format is set out in Table 1.

Identity Elements to be Researched

Techniques of Data Collection Employed

The Actual Identity Internal values Performance of Services Competitive Position History Structure Management style The Communicated Identity Corporate Reputations amongst various stakeholder groups Total Corporate Communications (Management, Marketing, Organisational Communication & noncontrollable communication e.g employees behaviour, comments in the press) Visual Identity Visual Communication Audit Internal semi-structured interviews External semi-structured interviews Analysis of media coverage (local and national) Structured questionnaire Internal semi-structured interviews External semi-structured interviews

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The Ideal Identity Strengths and ca[abilities Optimum corporate positioning Optimum core philosophy values and corporate Optimum organisational structure Optimum market coverage Optimum corporate behaviour Environmental trends The Desired Identity Vision held by senior executives Vision held shareholders by founders and major Internal Semi-structured interviews Analysis of internal communications and strategy documents PEST analysis Analysis of external market research reports Analysis of internal strategy documents SWOT analysis Company and Industry strategic analysis including:

Optimum products and services features and performances

Vision of other stakeholder groups

Table 1. Research Methods

The specifics of each of the methodological inputs were as follows:

The Visual Communications Audit


Examples of communication, formal and informal, were gathered from a wide variety of sources within Division A, and its parent company that had a direct impact on their communicated identity. The final sample contained 44 visual communications covering a range of 20 media. These items were then analysed by the lead researcher, producing 11 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

qualitative data regarding the nature, style and purpose of the communication. This data was categorised, numerically coded and entered into an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis.

Company and Industry Analyses


Company and market reports, local and national newspaper articles, and financial reports were collected, reviewed and analysed. SWOT and PEST analyses were prepared and compared with similar analyses done by members of senior management.

Semi-Structured Interviews
In-depth exploratory interviews of approximately one-hour duration were designed and conducted internally and externally. Due to time constraints and the size of the companies involved in the study (in terms of personnel), a sampling frame was drawn up that focussed this element of the research on company management but that also took account of the different functions: departmental management, corporate management and project management. Managers were invited to take part in the research by post and this was followed up by telephone requests. Within Division A, sixteen managers at various levels of seniority were interviewed with only one refusal. Externally, drawing from a potential sample of fifteen companies, ten were targeted comprising a total sample of sixteen managers. The final response had representation from eight companies and fourteen senior managers. All external respondents had been involved in direct, professional relationships with the organisation at some point during the previous three years and could be categorised as previous, present or potential customers. In both

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interview structures, a topic list was used and the analysis took the form of content analysis.

Structured Questionnaires
The questionnaire had a dual purpose. The first section aimed at revealing how company personnel communicate within Division A, identifying the frequency and methods of communication they use and receive. The second section examined employees perceptions of the identity that Division A communicates, in particular the corporate personality, culture, image and positioning in the market relative to competitors and customers. A set of statements, influenced by studies undertaken by Kennedy (1977) and Stuart (1997), were set against a five point Likert scale allowing the researcher to assess the concentration of the respondents agreement with the statements. The questionnaire was distributed physically, by mail, and electronically, by e-mail, to a quota sample of 247 personnel (14% of total company personnel) producing a final response rate of 34 percent (83 questionnaires).

Examining the Interfaces


Balmer & Soenen provide clear guidance on how to analyse the interfaces, directing the researcher towards constructing a multidimensional comprehension of the corporate identity while promoting an understanding of the inter-relatedness of the four constructs. This process is illustrated in Figure 2.

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Figure 2: The RED ACID Test Process Examining the 6 Interfaces (Balmer and Soenen, 1999)

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A short summary of the main research findings will now follow. The research revealed that there were significant gaps between the actual identity and the other three identities but a high degree of alignment between the ideal, desired and communicated identities. A graphic representation of Division As gap analysis is shown in Figure 3 below:

Figure 3: Gap Analysis of Division A

The findings implied that Division A effectively communicates its goals and strategies but that the content of these communications is inconsistent with the actual service delivery. The alignment demonstrates that the senior managers within Division A are skilled strategists who have excellent knowledge of the industries in which they operate and the markets that they serve. However, the non-alignment of the actual identity with the other three identities has serious implications for managing the corporate image and reputation of Division A. The nature of these gaps tended to fall into three areas of focus: corporate culture, management processes and communications. The diversity of the issues brought

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out by the research highlights the relevance of corporate identity management to both the operational and strategic management of the firm.

Corporate Culture
During the semi-structured interviews, many respondents indicated that there seemed to be an absence of a true corporate culture and employee association with Division A and that this cultural void was impacting upon Division As ability to differentiate themselves from their competitors and provide innovative service to their customers. The following comments illustrate:

I dont think we have a single brand reputation, we try to be all things to all people and in some respect become nothing to nobody. (Departmental Manager)

I have difficulty when I actually speak to the [Division A] staff - actually seeing them as the corporate identity.. they seem to have more allegiance with [our company] than they do their corporate body, they dont always seem to bring their corporate identity with them. They [subcontractors] look to their career in [our company].. it doesnt suit me. Theres this kind of short-termism to me. (Client A)

As a rule with [Division A] and [Competitor B], its actually very hard to distinguish between them because theyre going to bring in day rate contractors their prices are very much the same..similar procedures. (Client B)

As well as contributing to Division As lack of differentiation in the marketplace, the employees disassociation with the corporate body also had the potential to impede the

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corporate restructuring strategy that was being introduced while the study was taking place.

Management Processes
There were two main areas of managerial concern that were highlighted by the research. Firstly, Division A was considered to be poor at effectively managing their human resources, often to the extent of not being able to offer consistent quality service (in terms of personnel and abilities) to their customers. For example:

Division A has no responsibility for enhancing their competence or training or developing individuals.. Id like to see more commitment to recruitment of young engineers with structured training programs. (Client C)

A significant issue that surfaced early is that the pre-contract claims were not honoured in terms of the quality of people. It took them quite a long time after award to get the slots filled.(Client D)

Secondly, customers expressed concerns over the opaque commercial management style of Division A, indicating that financial and other performance targets were often undisclosed or secretly guarded, making their interactions with Division A combatant and difficult. This was in direct conflict with Division As corporate communications that state their values as, amongst others, clarity of purpose and responsive and flexible.

Communication
It was anticipated at the outset of the research that communication was going to be an area of difficulty for Division A and this was supported by the research results. There were four areas of specific concern:

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1.

Internal lateral communications: Customers indicated that lateral communications within Division A were very poor. In terms of best practice and knowledge sharing this paucity was perceived to be impacting upon the service quality that Division A was able to deliver to them:

One of the big weaknesses is that [Division A], at the moment, have seventeen contracts similar to this one. There is no communication across the company about performance across contracts, lateral learning, improvements. General communication across the company is appalling. I think it would have been one of their major strengths and I think they have succeeded in making it one of their major weaknesses. (Client E)

2.

Internal vertical communications : Both employees and managers indicated that internal communications were causing problems. They complained that they did not receive communication about corporate goals and objectives and had little guidance on how to communicate internally. The line communication structure that appeared to exist was hierarchical. However most respondents indicated that, in practice, this was often altered substantially or ignored and that most communications travelled by word of mouth. The receipt of these communications and timing of receipt were entirely reliant upon who you were and whom you knew:

The strengths for me are, Ive been with the company for a long time so people tell me things. (Departmental Manager)

It depends on the circles, I guess, and it depends on who you are. (Divisional Director)

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3.

External communication: Customers indicated that performance delivery was often out of line with promises made in contract tenders and pitch presentations:

Id like the management to be absolutely clear at pre-tender stage what they are committing to and that they can do what they say they will. (Client F)

4.

Internal and External visual standards : There had been an historical and ongoing disregard for the use and control of the corporate visual standards to the extent that some of the senior management of Division A could not name the three colours that constituted the corporate logo.

The data gained from the research was extensive and multi-perspectival and it is the researchers opinion that this breadth and depth of knowledge was generated through using the Acid Test as a model around which to base the research design.

The strengths and weaknesses of applying the Acid Test will now be discussed.

Evaluation of the ACID Test


In using the ACID Test, it was found that Balmer and Soenens (1999) model was particularly effective in concentrating the researcher on key questions regarding the evaluation of the organisations corporate identity. The data generated by the methodologies employed was voluminous and the ACID Test provided a focus and a framework for the researcher throughout the design and analysis stage thus assisting in the evaluation of corporate identity programmes and management. From a

communication perspective, the concepts surrounding the revelation of four separate 19 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

identities and their inter-relation with each other were easily grasped by managers and personnel involved in the study. This suggests that the format is both simple and memorable in terms of justifying the methodology employed and communicating the concepts of corporate identity management to research subjects. As a result the delivery of recommendations for aligning the corporate identity had a strong impact on Division As senior management. The ACID Test format focussed managers attention on the gaps between the identities, a style that has come to be consistent with many other strategic management analysis techniques, and emphasised the requirement for identity management and the need for corrective action in situations of non-alignment. This experience is reinforced in a recent article by Allen (2000) revealing that, in a commercial context, the ACID Test approach has been well received by the major organisations in which it has been used.

However in application of the ACID Test, there were difficulties experienced that indicate that the model may benefit from further refinement before it can be used as a universal method in corporate identity management. The following section explores the main areas of difficulty, focussing on the seven key principles that the ACID Test should fulfil:

It should be capable of being operationalised by consultants


While this aim holds true and the ACID Test is capable of being operationalised, it must be tempered with a caution. The techniques for data-collection and analysis suggested in the ACID Test are predominantly qualitative therefore time consuming and, in the case of identity consultancies, costly. Consequently, the creation of a representative sample of respondents in larger companies is a potential downfall of the ACID Test. Due to time constraints consultants may focus upon senior personnel as representative organisational 20 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

members and ignore equally important floor staff unintentionally weighting the data. It is evident from the questionnaires used in this study that a much clearer picture of the actual identity would have been obtained if all levels of personnel had been involved. The ACIDTest therefore needs to provide much greater guidance to consultants regarding the selection of corporate samples to ensure that an appropriate scope of data is acquired for analysis.

In addition to this, there was concern with the lack of guidance given by the ACID Test for diagnosing the type of change needed (p.85) and the seeming inconsistency of the taxonomy of change with the reality of management consultancy demands. In the context of a highly competitive, mature market environments consultants have to make reasonable and operational recommendations for action. In this case, it was felt that management would have reacted negatively to the recommendation of a full-scale multidisciplinary Strategic Corporate Identity change programme with little guidance on what that actually meant. Instead, the recommendations were focussed, operational and, most importantly, based on data that had been gathered using the ACID Test. It was observed that, given this approach, the value of identity management research as a strategic management management. tool was acknowledged and appreciated by Division As senior

It should bring objectivity to corporate identity consultancy and management


The techniques suggested by the ACID Test, with their emphasis on qualitative methods are, by their very nature, open to subjective analysis. This detracts from the overall

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objectivity of the consultant or academics interpretation of the data. The reliability of the data will depend upon the researchers skill and integrity vis-a-vis the research process. It is therefore unrealistic to expect a tool to provide total objectivity and future development of the ACID Test should focus on increasing the rigour of analyses that are undertaken.

It should be simple
As a mnemonic, the ACID Test serves the purpose of being simple to remember and easily communicates the concepts surrounding the revelation of four separate identities to both managers and the personnel involved in the study. However, one of the major difficulties in this particular case study was in the reporting of the findings in a suitable structure. The company under analysis showed that its Ideal and Desired identities were aligned and that there were no significant gaps between those identities and the Communicated identity. In contrast, there were considerable differences in the remaining interfaces between these identities and the firms Actual identity. In the event of the findings suggesting that there are no significant gaps between certain of the identities, it is very difficult to create a coherent reporting structure from the ACID Test interfaces. A natural progression would have been to simply answer the questions posed in the ACID Test (Figure 1) in a methodical manner. However this would make particularly monotonous reading for managers and consultants alike. In this particular case, it was possible to report on three interfaces, all of which interacted with the organisations actual identity. This suggests that the ACID Test may be functioning on two levels: the

operational and the strategic. It was very clear from the findings that the Desired and Ideal identities were very similar and that the communication of these identities was effective. At an operational level, however, the delivery of these strategies was not forthcoming and the dissonance experienced by both organisational members and

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customers of what was promised and what was experienced was a prime cause of concern for both management and stakeholders alike.

The implications of these findings for the ACID Test may be that the outcomes of applying the test on an organisation may highlight problems that, although they contribute to the management of the corporate identity, are more firmly based in the operational management of the firm.

Recommendations
Since this application, the ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management (Balmer and Soenen, 1999) has undergone further refinement (see: Balmer, 2001). However, this

research has shown that the conceptual thinking behind the test and its components is sound but that there is a need for a few refinements in order to improve its application.

It has been found that the test is particularly effective in improving the evaluation of an organisations corporate identity and in identifying specific areas of concern. The format can be easily communicated to and understood by both corporate identity professionals and general management teams. Two problems experienced during the

operationalisation of the ACID Test was firstly, the need to make a clear distinction between the two elements which form the "C" part of the framework and, secondly, the requirement for a fourth stage in the Reveal, Examine, Diagnose process.

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The AC 2ID Test


During operationalisation, it became apparent that undue focus was being accorded to communication at the expense of the image and reputational dimensions. As a means of circumventing these difficulties, a refined framework has been developed called Dr Balmer's AC ID test of Corporate Identity Management . Consequently, the researcher is seeking to identify FIVE identity types and analyse the ten interfaces that exist between them. These five identities are:
2 3

(1) ACTUAL (2) COMMUNICATED (3) CONCEIVED (4) IDEAL (5) DESIRED

This new approach aims to make transparent what was unclear in the original model. As such it takes into account not only what, to whom and how the organisation communicates but also how the organisation is conceived by key stakeholders, stakeholder groups and networks. In other words the Total Corporate Communications (Balmer and Gray 1999).

The REDS AC 2ID Test Process


Secondly, there is a need in the RED AC ID Test Process for a fourth stage that seeks to manage the identity change programme that has been diagnosed. It is suggested that the element of Strategy should be an integral part of the process, creating the REDS
2

Dr Balmer's REDS AC ID Test of Corporate Identity Management (1999) 24 The Customer Relationship Management (UK) Ltd A SECOR Consulting Company

AC ID Test Process. There is a requirement for further case study research detailing how this stage of the process can be approached and future research would do well to address this issue.

Conclusion
In summary, the ACID Test of Corporate Identity Management was an effective tool for analysing the corporate identity. It is conceptually accessible and easily grasped by senior management. However, there were areas where difficulty was experienced by the researcher and perceived gaps in the process (the absence of strategy). Future research needs to focus on communicating and developing the rigour of The REDS AC ID Test of Corporate Identity Management, rather than emphasising its ability to bring objectivity to corporate identity management as the approach in any analysis of identity is likely to remain slightly subjective.
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References
Anonymous (1999), Internal report on Five Year Strategy, Division A Allen, Dave (2001), The ACID Test - a communications tool for leadership teams who want to interact with the whole organisation, The Journal of Brand Management: An International Journal, Vol.7, No.4, pp.257-266 Balmer, John M.T (2001), Corporate Identity, Corporate Branding and Corporate Marketing: Seeing through the fog, European Journal of Marketing, Special Edition on Corporate Identity and Corporate Marketing. Forthcoming. Balmer, John M.T and Gray, Edmund R (1999), Corporate identity and corporate communications: creating a competitive advantage, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol.4, No.4, pp.171-176 Balmer, John M.T and Soenen, Guillaume B (1999), The Acid Test of Corporate Identity Management , Journal of Marketing Manage ment, Vol.15, pp.69-92 Kennedy, Sherril H (1977), Nurturing Corporate Images: total communication or ego trip? European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 11, pp.120 164 Markwick, N and Fill, C (1997), Towards a framework for managing corporate identity, European Journal of Marketing, Vol.31, No.5/6 Stuart, H (1997), Exploring the corporate identity/corporate image interface: an empirical study of accountancy firms, Journal of Communication Management, Vol.2, No.4, pp.357-373 Van Rekom, J (1997), Deriving an operational measure of corporate identity, European Journal of Marketing, Vol.31, No.5/6, pp.410-422 Van Riel, Cees B.M (1995), Principles of Corporate Communication, Prentice Hall, Europe Van Riel, Cees B.M and Balmer, John M.T (1997), Corporate identity: the concept, its measurement and management, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31, No.5/6, pp.340-355 www.dti.gov.uk/comp/competitive/an_ch4.htm (accessed 13/02/00)

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